University of Oklahoma fraternity brothers who led racist chant issue apologies

Two University of Oklahoma freshmen and Sigma Alpha Epsilon members captured on video leading a racist chant on a charter bus Saturday night have issued apologies in their hometown of Dallas.

Credit: Maureen Downey

Credit: Maureen Downey

The pair were formally kicked out of the university today on the grounds they created a "hostile learning environment." Their frat chapter has been disbanded.

In a long statement released to the Dallas Morning News by his father, freshman Parker Rice said: (This is an excerpt. Go to the Morning News for the full statement .)

I know everyone wants to know why or how this happened. I admit it likely was fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before the bus trip, but that's not an excuse. Yes, the song was taught to us, but that too doesn't work as an explanation. It's more important to acknowledge what I did and what I didn't do. I didn't say no...

The parents of the second student, Levi Pettit, issued an apology via a web site:

We were as shocked and saddened by this news as anyone. Of course, we are sad for our son – but more importantly, we apologize to the community he has hurt. We would also like to apologize to the – entire African American community, University of Oklahoma student body and administration. Our family has the responsibility to apologize, and also to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Our words will only go so far  – as a family, we commit to following our words with deeds.

To our friends and family, thank you for your kind comments and prayers. They are very comforting in this difficult time.

We ask that the media and public please respect our family's privacy as we come together to heal and determine next steps.